PENDLETON — If you ask Kalan McGlothan about her first game back after nearly two weeks out due to injury, the senior third baseman will shrug and give you a sideways smile.
On Tuesday against Hood River Valley, McGlothan went 0-for-4 and only reached base on an error by Hood River’s left fielder. Head coach Tim Cary commented on her timing after the 8-5 win and knew it would take a while for the second-team All-State returner to get things going in the batter’s box.
All it took for McGlothan was three days.
On Friday in Game 2 of a doubleheader against Hermiston, McGlothan ripped a home run over the right-field fence — with a little help from the wind — and put the Buckaroos up for good. The two-run home run was the first of two in the fourth inning and helped complete the sweep to keep Pendleton’s spotless in the Columbia River Conference.
“It felt really good,” McGlothan said of her best at bat of the day. “I went up there and I just knew I was going to get a hit, that I was going to get one base.”
She went 4-for-6 against the Bulldogs and was on one of a number of Bucks to have a standout day.
After handily taking Game 1 14-0, McGlothan and Kila Solomon’s homers opened up Game 2 and the duo helped push Pendleton to an 11-1 victory.
“The two home runs we huge,” Cary said, “great momentum starters right there and got us a comfortable lead where we could go out and play defense and breathe a little bit.”
For the start of the second game, momentum was actually on Hermiston’s side. The Bulldogs (11-7 overall, 4-4 CRC) got out to an early 1-0 lead after Sydney Stefani’s grounder caused the Bucks (18-1, 8-0) to make one of their only two errors on the day, which in turn gave Amanda Barron enough time to score. It was Hermiston’s only run of the day, and gave the Bulldogs a chance to snap a Pendleton win streak that dates back to the 2013-14 season.
“The first four innings they came out working hard,” Hermiston head coach Kate Greenough said.
It wasn’t until the end of the fourth that the Bulldogs started to tire, and by then Pendleton had already knotted the score at one run apiece.
Lauren Richards hit an RBI double in the bottom of the frame to tie the game at 1-1 and on the Bucks next offensive appearance, the two home runs put them up for good.
Pendleton scored six more times in the bottom of the fifth to enforce the 10-run rule and end the game early — Elli Nirschl, Sami Spriet, Aspen Garton, Solomon and Richards all contributed.
The Bucks have rarely trailed all year, and often take an early lead in the first inning with at least one run on the board. But all 11 runs in Game 2 and more than half of the runs in Game 1 came in and after the third frame.
“We always feel that if you don’t get it the first time, don’t worry,” Cary said. “We’re a good hitting team, we’re going to start pilling these hits together here pretty quick and sure enough we did.
“That’s just kind of our theme this year, let’s just keep swinging it and good things will happen here sooner or later.”
It was that patience that helped Pendleton breakout in the first game. After a 1-2-3 frame from both Hermiston’s pitcher, Janelle Almaguer, and Pendleton’s Richards — who was in the circle both games pitching a combined 10 innings — it seemed as if it was going to be a pitcher’s duel instead of the usual hitting frenzy.
But a defensive miscue from the Bulldogs in the second inning opened up the game for the Bucks, and Pendleton never looked back.
“It did get everything started right there,” Cary said. “That was a huge play.”
With 1 out and the bases loaded, Nirschl stepped up to the plate. It was the junior center fielder’s first at bat and she was quickly behind the count. Cary didn’t signal the known bunter and on an 0-2 pitch, Nirschl in fact bunted.
Cary added that her speed and athleticism often makes defenses work a little harder which can result in a passed ball, which is what happened against the Bulldogs. The error cleared the bases and gave the Bucks a lead they would never relinquish.
Richards and Garton added to the run total that inning, and before the game could reach the bottom of the fifth it was already over. Carissa Cooley hit a two-RBI single in the third and five more Bucks would bring in runs in the bottom of the fourth. The six-run frame was highlighted by RBI doubles from Richards and Solomon.
Richards offensive performance was matched with a solid outing in the circle. She pitched a shutout in Game 1 surrendering only three hits while striking out seven and walking three. In Game 2, Richards allowed one run of two hits, striking out three and walking none.
Janelle Almaguer started and finished Game 1 for Hermiston and was handed the loss after giving up eight runs on 10 hits, striking out one and walking four. Baliee Noland threw a complete game the second time around and was only able to strike out one batter while walking one, giving up 11 runs and 14 hits in the process.
Hermiston will play a rescheduled doubleheader on the road Saturday, and return to town to host Pendleton for a doubleheader Tuesday at Rocky Heights Elementary.
Game 1 R H E
HHS 000 00X X — 0 3 3
PHS 062 6XX X — 14 12 0
(H) Ja. Almaguer, P. Dufloth (4), Ja. Almaguer (4). (P) L. Richards. W — Richards, L — Almaguer.
2B: S. Stefani (H); L. Richards 2, R. Garton, K. Solomon (P).
Game 2 R H E
HHS 001 00X X — 1 2 2
PHS 001 46X X — 11 14 3
(H) B. Noland. (P) L. Richards. W — Richards, L — Noland.
HR: Ka. McGlothan, K. Solomon (P). 2B: A. Cameron (H); L. Richards 2, R. Genter (P).
Contact Alexis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-564-4542. Follow her on Twitter @almansanarez.